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Northern Ireland is Red squirrel garden heaven

This summer RSPB asked U.K. residents to take an hour and count some of the different species of wildlife found in their gardens, patios and in local school grounds and parks.

The survey, called Make Your Nature Count, indicates that Northern Ireland is the best place to spot one of the country’s few remaining red squirrels.  These cute little creatures are still rare, but RSPB says that they’re happy to know there are still pockets of the squirrels surviving after the unusually harsh winter, and the organization is working hard to protect them.

Healthier populations of other species were also found in Northern Ireland; RSPB reported that this phenomenon is due mostly to the human population providing food and safe habitats for different wildlife species.   An average of 6.16 house sparrows per garden were counted, far exceeding the national average of 4.48, with the sparrows seen in 81.9% of Northern Ireland gardens.

Young robins and song thrushes were also counted in numbers higher than average for the rest of the country.  In addition, gardens in this area attracted more finches, jackdaws and coal tits than other parts of the U.K.

RSPB also reported that although summer migrants such as house martins and swifts have been declining markedly in numbers, more of them were spotted in Northern Ireland than any other area of the U.K.  Almost 11% of participants reported colonies of house martins nesting under their eaves, compared to a mere 4% average in the rest of the country.



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